Contrarian Thinking

I live a little bit in the ghetto. It doesn’t feel dangerous, I like my neighbors, and the location is perfect, but in Las Vegas this is known as a terrible area. Even after being pleasantly surprised at how nice it was when I saw the place (I bought it sight unseen), I was worried that I’d find out horrible things about the area after living here. But I’ve been here for a year and it’s been smooth sailing.

I’m in the middle of a big bathroom renovation. So far, other than some plumbing for the tub, I’ve done all of the work myself. But I have a lot of tiling ahead of me, so I called a tiling guy and asked him for a quote. Part of the conversation went like this:

“And where do you live?”

“[ cross streets]”

“Oh. Wait, I know that area. Really, those cross streets?”


“And you’re putting money into a place over there? Seriously?”

I love that he just couldn’t contain himself, so ghetto is my neighborhood. And maybe by conventional wisdom I am making a mistake. I can’t imagine that the dollars I’m putting into my place will pay off in kind if I ever sell it.

But I don’t care, which is the whole point. Conventional wisdom is so limiting. Why can’t I make my tiny little apartment in the ghetto into my own personal paradise? It has everything I need and the location is way better than where everyone else lives in Las Vegas. I think it’s liberating to just do whatever you want.

Everyone else is thinking along conforming lines. It IS unusual to put this much time, effort, and money into such a cheap condo. But the mistake everyone makes is assuming that it’s bad because it’s unusual.

The way I’m thinking is that I got a $200k condo for $40k. Relative to that number I’m spending a low amount renovating this place. The fact that I actually paid $40k is irrelevant, because it’s worth a lot more to me personally. I’m also thinking about AirBnb. If I show pictures of a place with beautiful black marble floors, I can rent it for way more. It will look like the fancy suites that people want in Las Vegas. Even if I can’t increase resale value, I bet I can put more money in my pocket in the long run.

Don’t be scared when what you’re doing is contrary to everyone else. If you’re doing it just to be contrarian you might be making a mistake, but if your own logic dictates that it’s the right move, I bet it is. One-size-fits-all thinking only goes so far.


Photo is my bathroom in its current state. No toilet or sink and I have to sit to take showers because the walls aren’t waterproof yet. Right after I post this I’m going to build an apron for the tub and start prepping the floors.

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